Making Holiday Memories To Last A Lifetime* - Written By Jason Machin

*This is a collaborative post*

Surely everybody dreams of the kind of holiday where travelling the world, enjoying new experiences, jet-setting from country to country is the norm. Indeed some of us are lucky enough to afford sabbaticals and can take the time to make such memories, but for most of us, we are confined to the workplace expectations of just a week in the sun. Two if we're very lucky. Usually, these constraints leave us heading straight for an all inclusive holiday in Spain or Greece and with just a week off who can really blame us for taking the easy option of a free bar, restaurants on site, pools, sun and entertainment? But what if I told you that you could emulate the experience of enjoying different food, architecture and people everyday without having to take out a second mortgage to achieve this?

Amazingly enough it’s actually pretty easy to achieve and it doesn’t even require a strain to plan. A perfect example is a holiday I experienced in Italy. Undecided on where to stay between Pisa and Florence, I decided that wherever I stayed, I would just travel to the other city and spend the day exploring. This decision quickly escalated to a four day extended weekend, spending a day in Pisa, Florence, Livorno and Luca respectively with only a few hours train ride between each! 

The first thing to point out was that instead of feeling rushed or hectic, this actually felt like I had been on holiday for at least a week, because there was so much to take in and so many memories to make. Italy is one of the best countries to city hop because whilst they’re all so close together, each city has something entirely different to offer. 

Florence was easily the highlight. Possibly the most beautiful place I have ever been. The renaissance architecture, sculptures and art are present around every turn you take through the maze-like streets. Every few turns finds you entering another amazing piazza, littered with gorgeous restaurants serving the best Italian foods and wines. You could find yourself wandering the streets of Florence for weeks and always having something new to do. First on the bucket list surely though... must be the cities infamous Duomo. The tallest building where, after a rather exhausting hike up its staircases you can enjoy the glorious views of the entire city. I challenge you to find a flaw in its artistry from this height. 

Florence also houses Michelangelo’s David, one of the most famous sculptures in the world and a must see when you’re in the city, but once you’ve seen both of those just take the time to explore. I guarantee you’ll find something unique and different to what I experienced and you can make your own amazing memories. 

Pisa, famously brings tourists for its leaning tower and beautiful basilica. It would be churlish to not visit both, if only to pose for a photo pushing the tower back up (or even pushing it down if you’re feeling more devilish!). Climbing the tower is an experience of its own, be prepared for a dizzying sensation as you reach the top as you can really feel the towers unusual structure up there!

What made Pisa really a great experience beyond these points though is how un-touristy it actually is once you wander into the city properly. The restaurants are local ones, serving local delicacies and fine Tuscany wines. It’s a wonderful opportunity to experience Italy as the Italians do. So once you’re in the city, don’t be afraid of the restaurants off the main Piazzas whose menus are in Italian. The owners do an amazing job of translating and being accommodating. They’ll regale you with tales, help you pick out the best wines, and are brilliant with any dietary requirements. You’ll leave feeling like you’ve made some great friends, sure that no matter how many years pass before you return, they’ll remember you.  

That’s really the beauty of Italy, and Europe really as a whole. Livorno and Lucca again had so much to offer, both the city itself and the people. From the ancient walls surrounding Lucca to the beautiful promenades of Livorno, there are so many people to meet with stories to share, that it’s such a shame so many people opt for the all inclusive option. They're just missing out on everything our neighbouring countries have to offer and teach us. 

Perhaps next time you’re looking for where to go on holiday, why not try city hopping? Most cities in Italy have airports that the major airlines fly out to, so you can head over to a booking company to find your flights. Check out Cheap Holidays 2018 - Book Today & Save.
If Italy doesn’t float your boat, there are so many options available so go ahead and make those memories!

*Written by Jason Machin

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